What's your biggest ever mortgage?

01:19, Dec 21 2012

Hello all, just a quick Christmas blogging post from me today because Christmas is collapsing on us like an avalanche from which we are all running as fast as we can. Thanks as always for your comments on last week's blog. The Vegas question is definitely vexing the nation and my meddling in the whole thing doesn't seem to have helped. If anything now there are more apparent candidates for the coveted position of being SomethingVegas than there were before. I guess we can all take a bit of solace in knowing this problem isn't isolated to New Zealand. They have the same problems in places like Las Vercargill, Copenburton and Bangkokorua.

Gemma and I are teetering on the edge of making our big decision between the three builders who have tendered to build our house. The builders have come back to us with some adjustments and it looks like we will make some smallish savings from the compromises we have made. Our spreadsheet is complete with the final details from all of them and we've a pretty clear picture of the choice we are making between the builders.

To get an equally clear idea of what our financial situation will be after the build is finished and our current house is sold I've asked the valuer who valued our imaginary new house to also value our current house. Of course both of these values are just estimations, just like the estimations we've had of how much it will cost to build the house. It's a big leap to take on just estimations too. Imagine if you took an actual leap based on estimations.

"Jump over that thing."

"What thing?"

"That thing you can't see."


"How high is it?"

"About 3 feet."


"Give or take."

"Give or take how much?"

"Can't say for sure."

"Well how long is it?"

"How far can you jump?"

"About six feet probably"

"That might do it."

"What's on the other side of this thing I'm jumping over?"

"Probably firm ground."

"But not definitely?"


"Is there a big hole over there?"


On the subject of big holes, last blogging post I asked what a reasonable mortgage was. That wasn't a rhetorical question. While the topic of debt comes up in the media often - mostly suggesting people reduce theirs - it's not something we normally talk about openly, and it's interesting chatting to my friends and getting an idea of how much they would consider to be serviceable. People don't really want to mention actual figures, but I think that is more out of habit and custom than actual secrecy. If you feel comfortable saying, what is the biggest mortgage you have ever had? How did that turn out for you? How should we decide what the maximum mortgage we take on should be?

To distract myself from the thorny issues of our house I've been driving around town going to malls and purchasing random items from different shops then thinking which of my friends and family to give them to. (I'm planning to do all this giving on one day to make it convenient.) While I was out driving around I saw this advertisement for an awful looking car/truck (cuck? cark?). Does anyone else think the graphic designer of this billboard got the emphasis on the wrong word in this sentence?

The way it reads with the emphasis on "YOU" is that when this car turns up at your place, you should pretend that it was YOU who bought it. Don't tell them who actually bought it! Whatever you do, don't let on that it was actually bought for them by their real father - a terribly disfigured recluse who watches them from afar, so afraid of rejection that he has hired you to pretend to love them. Just let them think you bought it and everything will be okay. Seems a strange market segment to go for - people who don't want their families to know who bought them a car. But who am I to question Mazda's market positioning?

If it read "Let the family think you bought it for them", that would be a whole different story. Just an everyday Kiwi story about a father who is so desperate to drive a fast sporty car but is dragged down by a stupid family who all want to ride in it. But luckily they are SO stupid that he can buy a brilliant sports car like the CX9 and they will think he bought it so they can fit in it. They won't even notice how amazingly fast it goes! What a stupid family! That would make a lot more sense. Mazda, proudly selling huge, fast people-movers for overgrown boys and their dimwitted families!

So that's what I do as an outlet for Christmas stress - get mad at billboards that have done me absolutely no harm at all. That's healthy isn't it?

Luckily I probably needn't be worried either about Christmas or about the house build, because a blogging commenster has pointed out that a copy of The House that Beebo Built (the childhood book that first made me want to build a house and that I've been giving you page by page each week) is currently on sale on Amazon.com for US$1850.

If I was buying a used children's book for $1854.14 I think I'd want the condition to be a little bit better than "Acceptable". I guess the definition of acceptable changes the more you pay for something. At that price I think acceptable would mean it was still wrapped in plastic, the pages were made of pure gold and it doubles as a sporty four-wheel-drive family utility that someone else bought you. And I would hope they might forget about the $3.99 for the shipping too.

But the good news is that since I have a copy of this book jammed in the scanner, and also a copy of the next one in the series, Beebo and the Fizzimen, our money worries are over. Who wants to take it off my hands? I'll start the bidding at a reasonable $1844. A perfect Christmas present for any child who likes dirty old used books from 1976.

I hope you have a great Christmas and a fantastic holiday! If you see a couple driving around towing a tiny caravan to the seaside, that will be Gemma and me. We will pull over and let you pass as soon as we can. Of course unless you and your family are in a Mazda RocketBus, in which case the road belongs to you.

"Like" the Facebook page of this blog to receive notice when a new posting is blogged, and email me if you've got a spare $1844 for an acceptable kids book. And, finally as always, please enjoy the next pages of The House that Beebo Built by Phillipe Fix with story by Janine Ast and Alain Gree.